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Romper Stomper (1992)
This film tries very hard....
Romper Stomper is so close to being a great small film. So very close that I was loving this movie for every single minute it was on my screen and then it just slipped from my grasp. What I mean by this film coming close, well it's like this, I could compare this film to Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, it comes so close to being that disturbing, although I believe it falls short in a couple of areas. First, the only explanation for these people to be skinheads is a short little dialog between Russell Crowe and his new girlfriend about Hitler's Mein Kampf. Maybe the director assumes we know enough about skinheads already. There is also a climatic death in this film that left me not caring at all. I won't say who died, but it was a background character. I never felt one thing for this character, it was a total waste. I will say that Russell Crowe is amazing in this film, very intimidating without saying a single word. It's always tough when a film comes this close to being great, I will say that it is a film worth a look and it won't soon be forgotten. I do believe American History X is a better film on this subject.
All the Pretty Horses (2000)
I really wanted to love this film and from the opening scenes to the last third I really did like this film. I love surreal films as much as the next guy, but this film seems like it was made by Oliver Stone on Valium. The film is really slow, now that can be a good thing, but in this case the pace just keeps getting slower and slower. I heard that Thornton's original cut ran almost four hours, it seems that the film has a whole other film missing from it. I didn't read the novel and I'm guessing that I should have read the novel because I couldn't figure this film out for the life of me. When it was all over I felt empty. The performances are all great, I especially liked Lucas Black in the role of Blevins. Matt Damon and Henry Thomas are both very good in their roles and this is first movie Penelope Cruz has appeared in where I could see that she has real talent and isn't just another pretty face. I loved the cinematography, the outdoor landscapes were beautiful. The film has all the flavor and no real substance. I am torn with this film, I wanted to love it so bad. Even great film makers slip every now and then.
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Something to be said for Sandra Bullock.
Although Miss Congeniality isn't the most original film you will ever see in your lifetime, it is a fine example of Sandra Bullock as a movie star. This film has been done to death, it has a truly unoriginal screenplay that is packed with cliches to the point of insanity. It might sound like I didn't like the film...that isn't true at all. This movie lives and breathes Sandra Bullock, without her the film is a total bust. Only a few actors can hold a movie together and she definitely has the screen magic that is needed for Hollywood. I'm not trying to take away from the rest of the cast, they are all just victims to a terrible screenplay, but the actors also fall victim to Bullock's unique ability as an actor. She stands out and convinced me that this film isn't a total waste. I wasn't the most excited person in the world when this film appeared in theaters because it looked like a complete chick flick. I don't really have anything special to say about the film as a work of art or entertainment, but I am a Sandra Bullock fan for life.
The culmination of modern cinema...
It has been a very long time since I have sit down to write a review for a film in the IMDB. It's a practice I am happy to resume with a film that I believe is definitely a must-see movie. I gave the film a 9 on the voting scale, not a 10 only because of some weak acting in spots. Maybe it was some of the old age makeup on Johnny Depp, but at any rate the film is very good. Depp is probably the best actor of his generation and he doesn't step wrong in this film. Ray Liotta is very solid in a role that reminded me of Corrina,Corrina for some reason. I also want to add that it is a very huge pleasure to see Paul Reubens back on the big screen. Forget Pee Wee Herman or don't forget him, welcome back Paul. I started feeling sorry for the guy Johnny Depp portrays in this film, that has to be the convincing nature of acting because the man George Jung is probably a real scumbag in some ways. Although every American has a right to pursue the American dream, it's just that George Jung pursued his in Colombia. I believe more now than ever before that Ted Demme has arrived as a director. There is true inspiration in his directorial style and his choice of shot selection. I will always be one of the biggest fans of The Ref, but as of this film, Ted Demme is here people. Take notice. Some reviews I've read have compared this film to Boogie Nights and Goodfellas as if it's a terrible rip-off of those pictures. All I can say is, if your gonna rip-off any movie, why not Goodfellas or Boogie Nights?
Two-Lane Blacktop (1971)
Over looked gem.
Two-Lane Blacktop is an overlooked film and if there are any fans of Easy Rider out there who have not seen this film, go check it out. James Taylor and Dennis Wilson portray two car fanatics on the roads of America racing their custom '55 Chevy. Warren Oates plays GTO, the object of their passion for a race from the west to Washington D.C. The film is full of style and wit, basically a comment on the culture of the time when men judged each other very much the way they judged their cars. I had heard of Monte Hellman from a friend and I'm glad I decided to rent this film. Hellman shoots for style while keeping his screen compositions simple. The film is very subversive and sneaks around like a prowling cat. I fell for the characters, especially GTO, but I never really understood the drifter played by Laurie Bird. She comes into the film unexpected and tries every way to get away and just when you think she's gone from the picture, she reappears. I felt she was in the way. There is also a small performance from Harry Dean Stanton that is endearing. This is a treasure for independant film makers as the film was made for very low cost. If you can rent the DVD of Two-Lane Blacktop do so, the transfer is very nice and the film really is a standout on disc.
For Love of the Game (1999)
Although I didn't like For Love Of The Game the way I liked Bull Durham or Field Of Dreams, it's still a very entertaining film. Directed by Sam Raimi in a very subtle style, this is Costner's best film since Tin Cup. Raimi only shows flashes of his visual theatrics, Costner is very solid and I liked Kelly Preston very much. The way the story is told in the film is very fresh for a baseball movie and this is the high point for me. Baseball is just the background to a very touching love story. I hope this film more than anything else shows Hollywood that Sam Raimi is one of or greatest talents behind the camera.
Brokedown Palace (1999)
Could have been better.
I think that Brokedown Palace misses an oppurtunity to become a really interesting film. It's not even a good B-movie about girls in prison. Kaplan seems to know the territory, but lost his direction. I never really cared for the characters. There are so many better films about this subject.
Toy Story 2 (1999)
A very funny film.
The amount of detail that Pixar studios puts into their films is really amazing. The reflections and the shadows on characters and surfaces alike is really cool. Toy Story 2 is just as good as the first Toy Story, in some ways even better. It seems the film is more comfortable with its characters and the humor doesn't seemed forced at all. I can't imagine a better film for small children to see and adults as well. I have alot of friends who won't watch animated films because they are made for children. I think that my "grown-up" friends should stop thinking these films are for children and start realizing how great animation can make you feel.
Lake Placid (1999)
Oh boy.....nature runs amok.
Now we have entered into that most sacred of movie genres and that genre is the nature runs amok film. I've only seen a couple of these films actually work, obviously Jaws and Pirahna. Just let me say that I think this film makes mistakes from the very beginning. The character of the sheriff is a total bore and Brenden Gleeson should feel ashamed for such terrible acting. Bill Pullman is just going through the motions and his acting is terrible as well. Bridget Fonda....nuff said. The only saving grace this film has going for it are special effects and Oliver Platt. It's always interesting to me that these films garner such wonderful casts and make actors seem so much more untalented. The croc is a joy to watch eat, I really did like the bear sequence. If you are in the mood for a terrible and enjoyable monster movie, rent Pirahna.
American Pie (1999)
American Pie will no doubt shock some people and make others laugh all night long. If you are a fan of Dumb And Dumber or Kingpin, you will definitely like this film. The film is about a group of young teenage boys trying to lose their virginity. It reminded me of the hgh school films I used to watch when I was growing up and sneaking into the living room to watch movies on cable late at night. My parents would be fast asleep in their room and my brother was too young to care, it was just me and a dirty movie about high school or a private boarding school. Those were the days. This film is very funny and full of sexual overtones, I definitely enjoyed American Pie.